In chapter 11 of A Long Walk to Water, why did the snake bite Nya?

In chapter 11 of A Long Walk to Water, the narrator notes that poisonous snakes and scorpions hide in the area where Nya’s village hopes to find water. The snakes don’t bite Nya or the other villagers, but the narrator makes it clear that there is real risk that they could be bitten. The appearance of snakes and scorpions could symbolize the potential dangers of change as well as the courage of Nya and her community.

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In chapter 11 of A Long Walk to Water , snakes appear. They’re not just regular snakes: they’re poisonous snakes. In the chapter leading up to the narrator’s acknowledgment of snakes, Nya’s village is visited by two men. These men have come to help bring water to the village. The...

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In chapter 11 of A Long Walk to Water, snakes appear. They’re not just regular snakes: they’re poisonous snakes. In the chapter leading up to the narrator’s acknowledgment of snakes, Nya’s village is visited by two men. These men have come to help bring water to the village. The men conclude that water can be found in a spot by two trees. Nya is doubtful, but the village begins to clear the spot in order to begin the process of finding water.

As the villagers cut up the grass and soil, the narrator notes that this is “dangerous work.” Not only are there poisonous snakes, but there’s scorpions as well. Neither the snakes nor scorpions bite Nya or the villagers, but as the word “dangerous” suggests, it’s a legitimate possibility.

The presence of the snakes and scorpions could symbolize the way in which progress and development is not without potential risk. Change can often be accompanied by danger, but that doesn’t mean that change can’t happen. In the end, neither the snakes nor the scorpions prevent Nya and her village from generating their own water. Ultimately, her village prevails over an array of adversities, including the real chance of being bitten by a poisonous snake.

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